Thursday, May 26, 2016

Billionaire Peter Thiel Admits Funding Hulk Hogan's Legal Fees to the Tune of $10 Million

PayPal co-founder and Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel admitted Wednesday he has paid out approximately $10 million to finance Hulk Hogan’s winning invasion-of-privacy lawsuit against Gawker, claiming the act was “one of my greater philanthropic things that I’ve done.”

Gawker outed Thiel as gay though “It’s less about revenge and more about specific deterrence,” Thiel told NYT.

“I saw Gawker pioneer a unique and incredibly damaging way of getting attention by bullying people even when there was no connection with the public interest.”

Here's NYT with some background:
Silicon Valley likes to keep the media on a tight leash. Tech executives expect obedience, if not reverence, from reporters. They dole out information as grudgingly as possible. Sometimes they simply buy a chunk of a publication, a time-honored method of influencing what is deemed fit to write about.

Valleywag declined to play the game.

It was a gossip sheet for the digital age: abrasive, knowing, cynical, self-promoting, sometimes unfair. It dispensed snark by the truckload, printing things that people knew or surmised but were off the table. It said Google co-founder Larry Page had dated his then-colleague, Marissa Mayer. That the Google chairman Eric Schmidt was a playboy and a scamp. That the Napster co-founder and early Facebook executive Sean Parker’s wedding was seriously over the top.

Most notoriously, at least in retrospect, the tech gossip blog said in late 2007 that Peter Thiel, who co-founded PayPal and was an early and significant investor in Facebook, was gay.

Outing famous people has a long and not particularly respectable history, but Valleywag said it was celebrating Mr. Thiel. The point, as Valleywag’s then-editor Owen Thomas wrote in his post, was that even in Silicon Valley, “a gay investor has no way to fit into the old establishment. That frees him or her to build a different, hopefully better system for identifying and rewarding talented individuals, and unleashing their work on the world.”

This was gossip with an attitude, and an agenda. And what it unleashed was Mr. Thiel’s ire. He secretly financed a suit brought by the wrestler Hulk Hogan against Valleywag’s parent, Gawker Media, which has resulted in $140 million in damages. Gawker is appealing.

As I have pointed out, Walter Block has argued that in a libertarian society libel is not a violation of the non-aggression principle. (SEE:Defending The Undefendable).

Thiel claims to be a libertarian and also will be a Trump delegate at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland.

I reviewed his book here.


1 comment:

  1. Um... it might not be against the NAP, but neither is funding someone's legal team. Retaliation so long as it doesn't cross the aggression line is fair game.